Today is Earth Day.

And in Manitoba, there was an environmental victory that will protect people, pets and wildlife populations.

Gord MacKintosh, Manitoba’s Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship, introduced legislation that will ban certain cosmetic uses of pesticides in 2015.

Proposed legislation not outright pesticide ban, but would limit use.
At Ecojustice, we support this ban. What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by taking action to reduce exposure to toxic pesticides.

How (and why) did Ecojustice get involved?
For the past couple years, we worked with Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

We shared information about the campaign. We consulted with the Manitoba government. And we helped dispel myths surrounding similar bans.

Why?
Because for us, protecting your health and the health of people, pets, and wildlife is important. And especially since children often face the greatest risks from pesticide exposure because they’re closer to the ground and because their bodies are still developing.

But aren’t most pesticides okay for use?
Pesticide-ban opponents say that Health Canada’s approval and regulation of pesticides makes them safe. Wrong.

Here’s what Health Canada doesn’t study: how mixtures of pesticides may impact health and the environment how long-term, low-level exposures may impact health and the environment.

And Health Canada doesn’t ask pesticide makers to study those issues.

What does the science say?
Scientific and medical literature reveals that pesticide exposure poses serious health risks. These can include cancer risks among children, as well as reproductive and respiratory problems.

There’s an old adage that bears repeating: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Today’s legislation puts prevention first. Reducing exposure to pesticides is still the best way to protect your health, and the health of Manitobans.

In 2015, Manitobans will join people in six provinces who are living in healthier environments as a result of bans on cosmetic pesticide uses.

Provinces that have banned (or restricted) the use of cosmetic pesticides:
Quebec, 2003
Ontario, 2008
P.E.I., 2009
New Brunswick, 2009
Nova Scotia, 2010
Newfoundland & Labrador, 2012

Looking ahead
Ecojustice lawyers and scientists will continue to work with the Manitoba government. The government must still develop regulations that will install the ban. We look forward to 2015, when Manitobans can enjoy their lawns, public parks and other spaces without exposing themselves to cosmetic pesticides.